Philadelphia attorneys Daniel S. Weinstock and G. Scott Vezina of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP obtained a $78.5 million verdict on behalf of a child who suffered severe brain damage as a result of medical negligence. The child, now 3 years old, has severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy resulting from an 81-minute delay in performance of an emergency cesarean section delivery. The case was tried, beginning on April 13, 2012, in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas before the Honorable Mark I. Bernstein. The damages award includes payments for future medical care, lost earnings, pain and suffering for the baby as well as emotional distress for the baby’s mother, Victoria Upsey.
“Birth injury cases are always emotional matters, but the facts of this case were particularly shocking because the reason this delivery was delayed was that the obstetrician thought the baby was dead. He performed an ultrasound examination with outdated, insensitive, and poorly maintained equipment provided to him by the hospital, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. He actually told my client her baby had died, then 81 minutes later, the baby had come back to life,” said Weinstock.
The case arose in August 2008 when Victoria Upsey, then 36 weeks pregnant, presented to the hospital with signs of a placental abruption. Fetal monitoring was inconclusive, leading the obstetrician to perform a bedside ultrasound examination. Weinstock and Vezina submitted evidence in the case that the ultrasonography equipment provided by Pottstown Memorial Medical Center was antiquated, lacking the sensitivity of modern ultrasound machines. When questioned by Weinstock, the hospital’s Risk Manager admitted there was no evidence the equipment had even been serviced for more than 10 years, whereas the manual indicates that annual maintenance is necessary.
Throughout the discovery process, during his deposition and even when first questioned during trial, the obstetrician steadfastly maintained, with “100 percent certainty” that he performed the ultrasound properly, and the reason he did not identify the fetal heart beat was because the baby had died. He insisted the baby then “came back to life” some 81 minutes later. Unfortunately, due to what attorneys Weinstock and Vezina contended amounted to hospital administration negligence, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center did not have an ultrasound technician present in the hospital because it was a Sunday. The technician had to come from home in order to verify the obstetrician’s incorrect findings.
“While no monetary award can make our clients whole again, we are pleased to have obtained the best possible result for this family,” said Vezina. “No parent or child should have to endure such an ordeal.”
Weinstock focuses his practice in representing families of children with cerebral palsy and other brain injuries resulting from medical negligence. He has won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements against obstetricians, pediatricians and other healthcare providers in 12 different states*. He has been recognized by Thomson Reuters, published annually in Philadelphia magazine, as a Super Lawyer® each year since 2007.
About Feldman Shepherd — Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP has handled cases producing some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania. The firm represents plaintiffs in significant personal injury, class action, and other complex civil litigation. Clients include victims of medical malpractice, defective products, unsafe workplaces, motor vehicle accidents, legal malpractice and insurer misconduct.
Vezina is an experienced trial lawyer who also specializes in representing families of children with cerebral palsy and other brain injuries. Vezina has consistently been recognized as a Super Lawyer®, and as an “Up and Comer” in various publications throughout the United States.
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